Statement regarding the latest developments on Seattle’s progressive business tax

"This is not the Seattle we call home"

The following statement can be attributed to Working Washington in response to the latest developments around Seattle’s progressive business tax:

Poverty wages and income inequality are driving our city’s affordable housing crisis: the most common reasons people in our community lose their housing are because they lose their jobs, they can’t make the rent, or their employers just don’t pay them enough to support themselves.

But instead of stepping up and doing their part to address a housing crisis they helped create, some of the largest corporations and richest humans in the world have invested big money to mislead voters about Seattle’s progressive business tax.

They’ve formed an alliance with extremists. They’ve made clear they have the resources to bankroll many more months of nastiness. And they seem willing to pick a vicious and unnecessary fight with poor people and with the people who work to provide housing, services, and jobs.

This is not the Seattle we call home.

Instead of turning our city’s future over to the loudest, richest, and ugliest voices, let’s return the conversation to the broad consensus we know is out there for a compassionate approach to invest in our housing crisis. Let’s find solutions that ensure people who work in our city can afford to live here, too; that life-saving services are available to those in need; and that big businesses do their part — just like workers, homeowners, renters, and consumers do.”

More information:

  • People lose their homes when rent rises: Research shows that every $100 increase in rent is associated with a 15% increase in homelessness. 
  • Rent is rising rapidly: Gross median rent in Seattle has increased from $990 in 2010 to $1448 in 2016 (the latest figures available) — a total increase of almost $500/month. 
  • People lose their homes when they don’t have income to support themselves: The Point in Time Count shows the most common reason homeless people report they lost their housing is because they lost their jobs. The overwhelming number of other reasons cited are also directly tied to lack of stable, sustainable financial resources.
  • Large profitable companies often fail to pay people enough to pay their bills and contribute to the economy: Amazon, Starbucks, and other well-known chains are on the list of the top twenty companies in Washington with the largest number of employees whose low wages force them to rely on Medicaid and food stamps to care for their families.